Petition Closed
Petitioning Baltimore County Councilman Todd Huff and 9 others

State of Maryland: Pass laws for monthly rent increase cap & earlier notice of rent increase.


The State of Maryland needs to pass a law that places a cap on how much monthly rent can be raised at the end of a lease and a law that requires landlords to give the notice of rent increase sooner than the same time period during which the tenant must give a notice of intent to vacate. Landlord issues pertain to state legislation, which can be introduced for 2014 if this petition is successful. If there must be a monthly rent increase, it should not exceed 2%, which is still a considerable increase but a reasonable compromise. I have seen Maryland residents receive monthly rent increases of $35, $70, and even higher when they renew their leases. Nobody's rent should increase that much every single year. It is difficult for most people to pick up and move on short notice, and there is no guarantee that another rental community will not raise their rent in similar fashion. Excessive monthly rent increases are also a form of gentrification. They effectively push lower income people (disproportionately Blacks and other minorities) out of decent neighborhoods and into run-down, crime-infested ones. No tenant should be exploited by landlords, management companies, or apartment complexes. The State of Maryland and its counties need to help the people who need it most, instead of catering to greedy landlords and management companies who hide behind the bogus "market trend" excuse and raise rent in exorbitant fashion just because, legally, there is nothing to stop them.

Letter to
Baltimore County Councilman Todd Huff
Maryland State Senate
Maryland State House
and 7 others
State Senator Katherine Klausmeier
Governor Martin J. O'Malley
Lieutenant Governor Anthony G. Brown
State Delegate John W.E. Cluster, Jr.
State Delegate Eric M. Bromwell
State Delegate Joseph C. Boteler
Maryland Governor
I am a resident of Baltimore County, Maryland. I am writing you because Maryland needs the following laws to protect its residents. First, Maryland needs a law that places a cap on how much management companies and landlords can raise their tenants' rent at the end of a lease. If there must be a monthly rent increase at the end of a lease, a 1% increase is fair to most working class people. By no means should monthly rent be raised more than 2%, which is still a considerable increase but a reasonable compromise.

In addition, an existing Maryland law needs to be changed. Maryland law currently states that landlords only have to provide a 30-day notice of rent increase, but this needs to be changed, preferably to 90 days. As of today, tenants have the same 30-day time period to give their notice of intent to vacate. That makes no sense. Tenants need more time to weigh their options. Even if a tenant can afford last-minute moving expenses, there is no guarantee that the tenant will find a community that does not impose a similar rent hike.

Landlords take advantage of the fact that most tenants cannot just pick up and move on short notice. Therefore, the current law and the absence of a law for a rent increase cap allows management companies and landlords in Maryland to exploit their tenants.

I have lived in various apartments for more than 15 years, and prior to moving to Baltimore four years ago, I never experienced the type of rent increases that management companies and landlords in Maryland impose on their tenants.

There is no excuse other than greed for them to treat current residents this way and to impose a rent hike that far exceeds 2%. Anything more than 2% is the equivalent of taking on a new bill every year, and it is a burden. Even if a tenant can afford a huge rent increase, it is still exploitation. Even if they are being consistent with all current leases, that just means they are consistently ripping off all current tenants at the end of their leases. Management companies and landlords in Maryland take advantage of the fact that, legally, they can raise rent as high as they want to. It does not matter to them how unreasonable it is, especially when one considers the fact that most people do not receive a significant income increase on a yearly basis.

Some also fail to be up front and honest with prospective tenants about the possibility of a substantial rent increase at the end of the lease. This is predatory. Some even lie to their customers to ensure that they sign their leases.

When they give notice about a high rent increase, usually around 5% or higher, a common tactic is to see if the tenant will just accept this original "offer" without question. If the tenant complains, they slightly reduce the increase and act as if they are doing the tenant a favor. My current rent increase was almost 4% but would have been almost 8% if I had not stood up for myself.

Another indication that they are just exploiting current tenants is the fact that they often charge double the previous rent if the tenant wants to stay on a month-to-month basis. This is an exploitative, high-pressure tactic: Sign a new lease (for 10 months, 12 months, or 13-months) because it is the lowest of the extremely expensive options. That is outrageous, especially for working class people (including students)--the people who really need your help.

Properties exaggerate about their increasing operating expenses, and they also use the "market trend" as an excuse for exorbitant rent increases. However, these excuses for substantial monthly rent increases should only be applied to incoming residents (if applied to anyone at all), not to residents who are renewing their leases. I have seen Maryland residents receive monthly rent increases of $35, $70, and higher when they renew their leases. Nobody's rent should increase that much every single year. It is difficult for most of them to pick up and move on short notice, and there is no guarantee that another rental community will not raise their rent in similar fashion.

People should not have to move frequently in order to find affordable housing. Most working class people, including students, do not receive significant yearly income increases. Thus, high monthly rent increases cause excessive financial strain.

Excessive monthly rent increases are also a form of gentrification. They effectively push lower income people (disproportionately Blacks and other minorities) out of decent neighborhoods and into run-down, crime-infested ones.

No tenant should be exploited by landlords, management companies, or apartment complexes. The State of Maryland and its counties need to help the people who need it most, instead of catering to greedy landlords and management companies who raise rent in exorbitant fashion just because, legally, there is nothing to stop them..

Affordable housing is a major issue. Since a rent increase at the end of a lease is all but guaranteed in Maryland, there should be a limit on how much it can be increased. The exorbitant rent increase problem in Maryland can be corrected by a new law that places a cap on a rent increase at the end of a lease and by a revised law that requires properties to notify tenants much sooner about rent increases. To protect its residents, Maryland needs these laws and should enact them as soon as possible. Fighting for them is a simple matter of principle. There is such a thing as business ethics. In the meantime, mediation should be available for residents who stand up for themselves about excessive rent increases.

To do my part, I have signed this petition on Change.org. I am asking you to do your part and ensure that Maryland residents are treated fairly, not exploited by apartment communities, landlords, and management companies.

Thank you for your assistance.